“Jenni Yung just moved to south Texas where she is getting to know new people. Her neighbors seem nice enough and are good Christian folks. A week before Halloween, they invite her to a “Haunted House.” This place turns out to be a Christian Hell House where horrible things are depicted. There are reenactments of Satanic sacrifice, souls being tortured in hell and other horrific images. All with the goal of scaring attendees into accepting Jesus.
However, Jenni has a dark secret. A secret that doesn’t mesh well with the theme of the Hell House. Things take a wild turn as a whole new Hell is unleashed. Not even the Power of Christ can close this box once it’s been opened. Will anyone survive the night in the Hell House?”
I really wished I had read this around Halloween because it certainly got me in the mood for it! For those who are unaware, many Christian groups have taken to using the attraction of haunted houses in order to spread a message about what awaits the unsaved in Hell.
In this book, a Witch, a Satanist, a Christian, and one still exploring different spiritual beliefs are all invited to attend one of these haunts for free. What none of them know is that the Reverend of that Protestant Christian church has targeted them as his ‘special guests.’ His intention? To personally send them to Hell should they refuse to repent, or Heaven should they commit to Christ.
The reasons for the Witch, Satanist, and undecided are obvious, but the Christian man? Well, Reverend Billy doesn’t like that he preaches the love and acceptance of Christ over the outdated hatred of the Father’s law from the Old Testament. It is Rev. Billy’s belief that God has chosen him personally to carry out sentencing of unwanted individuals who refuse to adhere to the strict, exclusive ideal that ALL must follow the Christian God.
The author is known for his contribution to the horror community and “Hell House” goes a step further than relying on gruesome details (of which there are plenty) by telling an all-too-relatable story of the dangers of both religious extremists and hate. The overall message is powerful and clear, yet taking the book at face value instead of focusing on the bigger picture still gives the audience an enjoyable ride. There are also fantasy and other obviously fictional aspects that blunt the blow of any moral debates presented.
I’m sure there are some people who will find this book offensive which is quite normal when it comes to dealing with religion, even in a fictional environment. This is particularly why I appreciate that Miller included passive individuals from multiple religious and spiritual mindsets instead of harping on any Pagan vs Christian or Atheist vs Religion notions. It is important to remember that there are both extremists and good people in all of these paths and groups.
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden